§ Mr. Alfred Morris
To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has had from the head of medical services at Manchester airport in regard to the future of the accident and emergency department at Wythenshawe hospital; what reply he is sending; if there is any action he will be taking; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Virginia Bottomley
We have received a letter from the chief executive of Manchester Airport plc about the provision of accident and emergency services in the area of Manchester airport and referring to the proposals of the South Manchester district health authority to rationalise acute and other services at the Withington and Wythenshawe hospitals. The South Manchester district health authority has invited comments on its rationalisation plans from all interested parties including the community health council. The district authority will be able to proceed to implement the plans only with the agreement of the local community health council or, if that is withheld, with the agreement of the North West regional health authority. This is the standard procedure for dealing with significant changes in the use of Health Service facilities. The planning of health services at district level is of course best dealt with at a local level. Ministers would not wish to be involved unless no local agreement can be reached.
The Department will be replying to the chief executive in these terms.